Do you enjoy having a cup of coffee when you do not need caffeine? Decaffeinated coffee is perfect for that. It is tricky to find quality decaf coffee beans.
This article will assist you in choosing the best decaf coffee beans for you. There are three main processes that coffee beans go through to become decaffeinated coffee beans.
Only one of those methods is safe and healthy, one is extremely expensive, and the last one is controversial.
There is one huge similarity with these processes. The coffee beans are always green when completing the process.
The only real differences are the solvents that are used in the process of stripping the caffeine out of the beans without taking out all of the great flavors.
The Carbon Dioxide Method
Carbon dioxide is a very tricky element. It will behave as half-liquid and half-gas when it is under serious pressure. There are coffee facilities that will use this half and half state to benefit their production.
They will soak the beans in this element that is half-gas and half-liquid. The carbon dioxide will suck out all of the caffeine without taking any of the other great elements from the coffee beans. Once the beans have been soaked, it is time to remove the caffeine from the Carbon Dioxide.
There are two ways to remove caffeine from the carbon dioxide.
- • Charcoal Filtering. The carbon dioxide is sent through a charcoal filter to remove the caffeine. This way the Carbon dioxide can be used again to soak more beans.
- • Rise and Fall. The carbon dioxide is reverted back into gas form. The gas will rise into a chamber above while leaving the caffeine in the bottom chamber.
The Carbon Dioxide Method is very expensive. Most coffee facilities that use this method use low-grade beans.
Some say the flavor of the coffee is only a small drop from caffeinated coffee beans. That doesn't mean that you will not find quality decaf coffee beans. There are some specialty decaf coffees, it just isn't very common as of yet.
The Solvent Method
The Solvent Method is a controversial method that uses chemicals to remove the caffeine from the coffee beans. The two chemicals used have been labeled as "not the greatest". They do extremely speed up the decaffeinating process.
These are the two chemicals used in the solvent processing method.
- • Ethyl Acetate. This chemical can be found in naturally ripened fruits. It is made in a laboratory for the decaffeination process.
- • Methylene Chloride. This chemical has been deemed unfit for consumption. On a good note, there is essentially no trace of the chemical in the beans after the process is completed.
Here are the two solvent methods used.
Traditional method. The green coffee beans are soaked in a vat for a few hours. The water will be boiling the whole time. The beans will be mixed with the two chemicals inside.
Once they have spent time in the chemical mixture, they will be steamed another time to remove the chemicals and the caffeine. This is a long and wasteful process.
Modern method. The new way to do things is much more cost-efficient. The green coffee beans will go into a vat and be boiled for a few hours.
The coffee beans will be put into another vat and mixed with the chemicals. After some time in the mixture, the chemicals and the caffeine will rise to the top of the vat. The workers will be able to skim the top of the vats to remove the chemicals and the caffeine. Once this process is completed, the beans will then go back into the first vat which now is flavored water.
The Swiss Water Method
The Swiss Water Method is the only method that is perfectly organic and healthy. There are no chemicals used at all. The only element needed is water. This method is owned by a company called Coffex. They are located in Switzerland, but the actual processing of the beans happens in Canada.
The beans are soaked in a vat of pressurized water. The pores of the beans are just like ours, they will open up in the warm water.
This will allow all of the elements, such as caffeine, oils, sugars, and flavors will be discharged into the water.
The water then becomes a coffee extract that is full of all of the flavors that we love along with the caffeine we are trying to avoid. The coffee extract is then put through a serious charcoal filter t remove the caffeine and leave the other great elements.
The first batch of beans is now discarded and a new batch will go into the vat with the coffee extract. The caffeine will be removed with the same process. The only difference is now the second batch of beans is full of the flavors left behind by the first batch.
This process has become the norm for specialty coffee.
It is very pricey for the consumer and hard to find. If you are looking for quality decaf, the Swiss Water Method is the way to go.